Every way ‘And Just Like That’ updated the original ‘Sex And The City’

How did they explain away Samantha? What's happening with the pandemic?
December 9, 2021 2:54 p.m. EST

WARNING: spoilers ahead for And Just Like That, episode 1.

Speculation has run rampant and theories have abounded since it was announced Sex And The City (stream now on Crave) was coming back to our TVs in And Just Like That form. Everyone, (including us) had questions about how the original show, which ran from 1998 to 2004, was going to pull itself into 2021. Particularly when it came to the realities of New Yorkers who weren’t white, affluent, cis-gender, heterosexual women.

It looks like producer Michael Patrick King was listening to criticisms of SATC, because in the first episode (streaming now on Crave), Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristen Davis) have purposefully evolved from their former selves, without shaming from whence they came.

Here are all the updates to SATC in episode 1 of And Just Like That...

Carrie's monologuing on a podcast and she's getting more explicit 

When it came to conversations about inclusion and diversity, the girls do a much better job in 2021. Former Grey's Anatomy star Sara Ramírez plays Che Diaz, a non-binary, queer, stand-up comedian who hosts a podcast with Carrie, and in the first episode, she really pushes Carrie to stop being so conservative when it comes to discussions of sex.

For a sex columnist, Carrie was oddly squeamish about sex-talk. But in this episode, Che gets Carrie to say the P-word. Someone give Che a medal!

Later, inspired by Che, Carrie and Big have a frank discussion about masturbation and well . . . you can see where this is going.

Race is very much addressed (and also Miranda takes the subway!)

Karen Pittman, from The Morning Show, plays Dr. Nya Wallace, a Columbia Law professor whom Miranda awkwardly tries to befriend, and it's in this relationship that we truly see the show tackling tough issues.

Miranda is no longer the young, spunky kid about town, and while she may think her attitudes about race, women, and power are up to date, she shoots her mouth off in a cringeworthy scene with Dr. Wallace about Black women’s hair. 

Later, on the subway (yes, THE SUBWAY . . . we know! Talk about leaps and bounds! Not a cab in sight!), Miranda tries to paint herself as an ally to her own benefit, but Dr. Wallace is having none of it. Looks like AJLT is holding the women accountable in a way they never were in SATC. The old show likely would have let Miranda get away with her ignorance, and possibly even praise her for her views.

Peloton, Instagram, Bridgerton and pronouns are all topics of conversation

There are many references throughout the first episode that indicate the cast are well aware of how starkly things have changed since the '90s – they all begrudgingly accept that Peloton, Instagram, podcasts, pronouns, and Bridgerton are facts of life now. Life moves on, and so must they.

Big even quips at one point, “I remember when you kept your sweaters in the oven.” So do we, Big. So do we.

Lapel flowers = timeless

Can we talk fashion? As proof of "what's old is new again," we were thrilled to see Carrie wearing her patented, oversized flower on her lapel. This is the flower that she wore consistently on her lapel during season 3 and 4 of the original series. Some accessories never go out of style.

Same for those wedding pumps

Plus, Carrie’s blue, diamond wedding pumps from the first SATC movie (stream now on Crave) are put to good use in this episode. When we are first re-introduced to them, not only does Carrie and Big’s love theme from the movie play in the background, but Carrie greets her shoes the exact same way she greeted her shoes in the season 4 SATC episode “I Heart NY” — “Hellooooo lover!”

Big's vinyl collection is expanding

Speaking of that classic "I Heart NY" episode, there is another huge nod to it by way of Big’s vinyl music collection. Where Carrie and Big once danced to Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and ‘Moon River’ from the Breakfast At Tiffany’s soundtrack, now they’re grooving to Todd Rundgren’s “Hello, It’s Me” (which is where this episode takes its name), after listening to Linda Ronstadt. As Carrie would say, “not corny – classic.”

Samantha is... not dead

Of course, they have to address the elephant in the room - Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is absent, and it is explained away with a professional and personal falling-out. The girls tell us Carrie fired her as a publicist due to the decline of the book industry, something that hurt Samantha’s pride, so she moved to London, UK.

In real life, we know that Cattrall was very vocal about not returning to the franchise, and cited SJP as a bully on set. But with her relocation, rather than death, there is room in the future to maybe have her make an appearance. (We hope.)

The pandemic happened, but it's over

The other elephant in the room is the pandemic - the show very firmly situates itself in the near future when the pandemic is over. They reference it all the time but no masks nor social distancing is needed anymore.

Charlotte's dog, cameos and musical throwbacks

There are loads of other nuggets that only binge-watchers of the original SATC might pick up - Charlotte’s dog is named Richard Burton (her old dog in the original series was named Elizabeth Taylor! Awwwww). The obnoxious Bitsy Von Muffling makes a cameo within the first few minutes (sans Nathan Lane, unfortch), and when the end credits roll on episode 1, the rabble-rousing tune “You Got The Love” that famously played over the end credits of the final episode of SATC, takes us out on an emotional high. 

Um, that death tho? That's new.

Speaking of an emotional ending, there is a shock death that ties back to the original series. In the SATC season 6 episode “The Domino Effect,” we saw Big undergo open heart surgery to remove a blockage. He pulls through, but we know he has a weak heart. At the end of AJLT episode 1, Big is crushing his workout on the Peloton while Carrie is at Lily’s piano recital. But once he steps off the bike, his heart gives out. When Carrie comes home, she finds him keeled over. “And just like that,” he dies in Carrie’s arms.

It’s a difficult scene to watch, especially because we know that right after filming wrapped, Stamford actor Willie Garson died from cancer. Death seems to be a looming phantom over the show, as the women are aging and forced to confront mortality. We can’t wait to see how this is addressed in the rest of the series going forward.

We’ll bring the kleenex


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